How does diversity inform spiritual formation? Simply put, Christians are broadened and deepened as they worship, study, do ministry, and share life-together in community. It is across difference where the most important of Christian virtues, love, is tested. Now this has to be beyond window-dressing of doing drive-by ministry “to” and “among” the urban poor, immigrants, and the rich, racially-ethnic diversity of the global church present in urban centers. When all these demographics form a vital part of our worship community and leadership, spiritual formation takes on a richer texture. As we listen to one another across differences, our own assumptions, prejudices, and limitations are challenged by other followers of Christ. This is precisely what Christian ecclesiology is; “unity in Christ with diversity.”
In the summer of 2002, we started the SIM (Saints in Motion) program where we brought six singles into our home for three weeks to share our lives with them in hopes that they would experience a holistic discipleship model (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
We based it off Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” From that scripture, we developed these four aims:
1. grow a greater devotion for the Lord
2. increase ability to study the Bible
3. develop and grow ability to communicate the hope of the Gospel
4. promote practical and tangible application.
For three weeks, we led intense discipleship that included: morning devotionals led by the members (with feedback from my wife and I afterwards), application challenges (share your faith with a coworker, serve the other SIMs members, etc.), assignments, curfew, rotating chores, communal money pot (no purchases can be made without consulting everyone), evening devotionals based on our worldviews, and conflict resolution.
H. Norman Wright authored “So You’re Getting Married” in 1985. I picked up my copy the other day as I was researching for this blog and other areas of ministry. There, right in the first chapter, just as he begins writing Wright gives a great list that defines marriage and provides useful information to help us as we Commit to Marriage
Think about those you like to criticize and poke fun at, be it on your blog, via captioned photos you post on Facebook, or the links you share on Twitter. They could be liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats, Christians or atheists, complementarians or egalitarians, gun control advocates or Second Amendment defenders, or any other group or faction. Whatever group that might be, how often do you actually converse with people from that group in real life? How much time have you spent actually getting to know those you demonize, as opposed to indulging in caricatures put forth by people on your side of the cultural divide?
Crystal Dycus, 30, accepted the position as treasurer at Douglass Chapel United Methodist Church in Gallatin, Tenn., two years ago, and had access to the church’s bank accounts, credit card and certificates of deposit (CDs). During this time, she spent church funds on gas, tanning bed visits, ATM withdraws, restaurants and bills.
High-level US officials have concluded that Cuba should no longer be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, raising the prospect that a key obstacle to restoring diplomatic relations with the Cold War foe could soon be removed, according to top diplomats and Cuba experts.
Obama’s expanded drone war has broad popular support in the U.S., according to a poll released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. That survey found 56 percent support such strikes and 26 percent oppose them. At the same time, 53 percent worry about potential civilian casualties. But overseas it faces majority opposition, Pew found last year.